7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 3)

— 1 —
I’ve had a drink machine installed in our minivan. The boys are always asking for drinks during our commute. I was tired of saying no, so I started taking requests instead. I press an invisible button on the van’s ceiling and the boys can have whatever they want—orange juice, chocolate milk, even a Shamrock shake. Then I throw the drinks over my shoulder and the boys yell, “I caught it!” No spills yet. Now if only I could sell them on imaginary pretzels.
— 2 —
At Mass on Sunday I didn’t shake hands with the people around me at the Kiss of Peace. They probably thought I was antisocial. Actually, I could feel a cold coming on, and I was trying to spare my fellow churchgoers. And, I have to say, I did them a favor. It’s turned into a sickness that’s running through our whole family. I’m starting to wonder whether we’ll manage to march in Baltimore’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday. If I can’t go and you do, cheer loudly for my little sister. She’s a deputy grand marshal this year.

— 3 —
Have you “adopted” a cardinal to pray for during the conclave? I was matched with Leonardo Sandri of Argentina here. When I looked him up on Wikipedia, I read that he announced Pope John Paul II’s death to the world from St. Peter’s Square saying, “Our Holy Father John Paul has returned to the house of the Father…We all feel like orphans this evening.”
I remember hearing those words, and I got chills thinking of how much more significant the word “orphan” is to me now than it was in 2005.
You can also make a spiritual bouquet for the cardinals. A few months ago my mother was shocked to discover that I had never heard of a spiritual bouquet. Luckily I’m a quick learner.
— 4 —
Good things come to those who get rid of TV service. Last week I canceled ours. I had only signed up for it to get free Internet installation two years ago. So I called our provider, asked for a better rate, waited a half hour for the rep to come back with a price that was $5 less, and then turned him down.
This week I realized our voice mail wasn’t working and I called to have it reinstated.
I spent an hour talking to some very friendly customer service people. The third person I talked to suddenly offered to add our TV service at a price that will cost us less than what we are paying just for phone and Internet. I couldn’t say no. So we’re saving $3 a month, getting a $100 Visa card in the mail, and we’ll have TV. I still won’t watch it, but I think that’s why I was successful.
I didn’t want their product, I happily canceled it, and when they asked me what it would take to get us to sign up for it again, I laughed and said, “It would have to be an amazing price because I don’t care whether we have it at all.”
— 5 —
Last week I said we hadn’t had any snow this winter, so I was sure we’d have a big storm on Wednesday. I was wrong, but so were a lot of meteorologists.
Work and school were closed, and I thoroughly enjoyed our snow-free snow day. We didn’t have to lift a shovel. We just played inside all day.
At one point I said, “Maybe we should take some cookie dough out of the freezer.” Leo looked at me as if I had just suggested we go skydiving and said, “Why?” So we didn’t. In fact, we didn’t do much of anything. It was wonderful.
Maybe we’ll get to use the sled next winter.
— 6 —

Do you have a recipe for Irish soda bread? I’d like to share the recipe I use in a blog before St. Patrick’s Day, but I am curious to hear how you make yours. Do you use caraway seeds? Raisins? Some magical ingredient I’ve never considered? Or is your recipe a family secret? Let’s compare Irish soda bread notes at openwindowcr@gmail.com.
— 7 —
John and I went to separate Masses last Sunday. When I came home, I said, “Guess what Fr. Whatley said at the end of his homily!”
John looked up from serving lunch to our boys. “You should read Rita Buettner’s blog on the Catholic Review website?” he said.
My husband is so amusing.
“He talked about confession,” I said. “He told us, ‘Don’t come to confession to see Fr. Gene or me. Come to meet Jesus, the gardener of the beauty of your heart.’”
Isn’t that lovely? It makes me feel good to know Jesus is working on my heart, too, especially during Lent.
The photo of Cardinal Sandri is from Wikipedia; Irish soda bread photo was taken by Treasa Matysek.
Read more quick takes at Jen’s blog.

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